kalleboo's retro tech blog

90's PowerBook Display Plague

Looking at old PowerBooks for sale on Yahoo! Auctions or Mercari, one thing you notice right away is that at times the majority of them have totally messed-up LCD panels. They're all bubbled up, crinkled or looked like they have huge scratches.

I attributed it to the high heat and humidity of Japanese summers, it doesn't seem far fetched that a laptop stored in an attic that reaches 40 C in summer will take some heavy damage.

I hadn't seen any discusson of this among western collectors, then I found a thread on the 68kmla forum that shows that the plague has also reached other parts of the world, perhaps to a lesser degree. More enterprising individuals there have peeled off the outer polarizing layer, revealing a pristine and working LCD, so maybe I should pick up one of the messed-up devices for dirt cheap and attempt a repair?

Here's a random selection of machines on auction when this was written exhibiting this behavior:

Last updated: 2019-06-25
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